For collectors: Treasury of stamps, coins mark newest saints

Malta's two-stamp souvenir sheet honoring the two new saints.

Malta’s two-stamp souvenir sheet honoring the two new saints.

It’s not just Vatican City commemorating the canonizations of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II through postage stamps and coins.

Post offices and treasuries around the world have taken steps to honor the Catholic Church’s newest saints.

At least 11 countries have joined the Vatican in creating philatelic delights for collectors. Among them are Poland (a joint issue with the Vatican), Benin, Chad, Republic of Congo, Croatia, Djibouti, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta and the Philippines.

The new issues come in both single-stamp and souvenir-sheet formats. In some cases the souvenir sheets include multiple colorful high-denomination, large-format stamps. While technically valid for postage, they are primarily issued in an attempt to attract collector money. Still, they are fun to collect.

One of two souvenir sheets from Philippines Post depicts St. John XXIII.

One of two souvenir sheets from Philippines Post depicts St. John XXIII.

Among the most interesting issues are the two 3-D, embossed gold foil stamps from Philippines Post each with a face value of 200 pesos, about $4.50. Printing quantities were 10,000 for the sheet featuring St. John Paul II and 5,000 of the St. John XIII sheet.

A new stamp from Croatia marks the canonization of St. John Paul II. Another of similar design depicts St. John XXIII.

A new stamp from Croatia marks the canonization of St. John Paul II. Another of similar design depicts St. John XXIII.

Croatia issued single stamps for both men and Liechtenstein’s single-stamp souvenir sheet commemorates only St. John Paul, who visited the small Alpine nation in 1985.

The Vatican and other nations have joined the commemoration parade by minting coins depicting the new stains. The Vatican’s issues include 50-euro gold and 15-euro silver coins.

The treasury of the government of Niue minted a rectangular triptych honoring St. John Paul.

The treasury of the government of Niue minted a rectangular triptych coin honoring St. John Paul.

Elsewhere, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued $25 gold and $10 silver coins honoring St. John Paul while Poland has minted a series of four coins depicting its Polish son. Perhaps the most unusual release comes from the treasury of the island nation of Niue with its colorful rectangular triptych coin. It has a face value of $20 New Zealand, about US$17.

If you’re so inclined, most of the stamps and coins can be ordered online direct from the appropriate post office or mint.

 

 

 

Arkansas parish prepares to receive people left homeless by storms

A man tosses aside bricks while searching in the rubble of a destroyed house April 28 after a tornado hit the town of Vilonia, Ark., the previous day. A series of tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 100. (CNS/ Reuters)

A man tosses aside bricks while searching in the rubble of a destroyed house April 28 after a tornado hit the town of Vilonia, Ark., the previous day. A series of tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 100. (CNS/ Reuters)

The Arkansas Catholic reports that St. Joseph Parish in Conway, Ark., this afternoon was preparing to receive victims from Sunday evening’s tornadoes that claimed at least 18 lives and left hundreds homeless across the central part of the state.

As a Red Cross shelter, the parish can accommodate about 200 people. If and when people start arriving, it will be the first time the parish has hosted people displaced by severe weather.

“We’re learning as we go along,” Matt Mallett, parish business manager, told the diocesan newspaper.

The Red Cross staff will be on hand to help victims, but parishioners and parish organizations are prepared to help in any way they can, Mallett said.

Severe storms in central Arkansas also injured at least 100 people. In Vilonia, about 14 miles east of Conway, more than 60 homes were destroyed, authorities reported.

The town of Mayflower, about 11 miles south of Conway also sustained severe damage.

Weather observers said the same massive storm affected both communities. Vehicles on I-40 north of Little Rock were tossed around like toys by the swirling winds, but no deaths were reported as the funnel cloud passed.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities of the Little Rock Diocese was supporting St. Joseph as a relief site with financial assistance and other services as needed.

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